I'm not sure if this question has been asked before, but here we go. As everyone knows, in Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi (1983), Princess Leia, disguised as the bounty hunter Boushh infiltrates Jabba's palace under the pretense of collecting the bounty on Chewbacca but her real plan was to release Han Solo. In order to do it, later that night, Leia enters the throne room when Jabba and the court seemed to be asleep, and after she moved silently among the shadows, she made her way to the trophy alcove. The only noise she made is when she accidentally knocked the Nar Shaddaa wind chimes with her helmet. Then, she releases Han from his carbonite imprisonment and just as the two were about to escape, they are caught by Jabba and his thugs that show up behind a curtain of Jabba's private elevator.

Is there a Canon/Legend explanation of how Jabba knew that Leia was Boushh and had planned to release Han that night?

I have researched some possible explanations to answer my question as follows:

  • Was the chime a sensor?
  • Was there an alarm from the freezing panel?
  • Did Jabba anticipate it from a tip off one of his subordinates like Boba Fett?
  • Was just an out-of-universe reason, but I have found not a legit answer.

Still image from Return of the Jedi

  • Maybe Jabba knew there's no way Chewie would get taken captive. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 14:39
  • Is there anything in the movie that shows Jabba knew it was Leia, specifically? I always read it as "Someone is freeing Han, let's check it out."
    – Turbo
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 14:52
  • 2
    Could be Jabba knew that Boushh is dead already and someone impersonates him, so he just checked it out. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 15:16
  • 3
    Ah, the mighty Boushh. Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 16:04
  • 2
    I read that Lucas or the director wanted the scene to be different, where Jabba walks in on them (perhaps due to an alarm being set off). But because of anamatronic limitations, they couldn't pull that off so did a version where he was always seated, hence lying in wait.
    – RC_23
    Commented Feb 3, 2023 at 16:35

1 Answer 1


According to the film's official junior novelisation, Boba Fett recognised that the person claiming to be Boushh wasn't Boushh and told Jabba.

Tipped off by Boba Fett, Jabba had known it wasn’t really Boushh under the helmet. But he had guessed that the imposter was just another lowlife smuggler. A short lowlife smuggler. But to his hideous delight it turned out to be a beautiful woman—just a human, but beautiful nonetheless.

Given that the bait used to secure entrance to Jabba's stronghold was Chewbacca, it stands to reason that the (fake) bounty hunter was there to rescue Han Solo. Jabba and his henchmen then sat behind the curtain for an hour waiting to spring the trap.

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